Supporting independent reading and creating purposeful book areas
The Reading Journey is designed to:
- support the teaching of independent reading
- help teachers maintain class book corners and reading areas
- keep book corners stocked with outstanding up-to-date books
- ensure children encounter a wide range of quality literature and illustration
- provide a loose, but supportive, structure that will enable teachers to develop a good working knowledge of the books in their classroom
- facilitate high quality child-to-child and child-to-adult interactions about books and reading
The books in The Reading Journey are selected by a panel of reading experts and class teachers, convened by Just Imagine Director, Nikki Gamble, author of Exploring Children’s Literature and co-author of Guiding Readers: layers of meaning.
View presentation: overview of The Reading Journey
The programme is divided into phases: currently KS1 (5 – 7 years), LKS2 (7 – 9 years) and UKS2 (9 – 11 years). Early Years and KS3 will be coming soon.
100 Great Books
In each phase we have recommended 100 great fiction reads. These are staples of the reading corner. This is a good place to start, if your reading areas need a serious refresh, or if you are starting from scratch. We have made the books available in packs of 100 and in half packs of 50, to suit different budgets and school sizes. We suggest that a two form entry school, might choose the 100 book pack and divide into two sets of 50 books that classes could exchange part way through the year. Single form entry schools might want to divide the pack into two sets. For instance, half the UKS2 pack could be used for a year 5 class and half for a year 6 class.
The 100 books have been selected by Just Imagine’s team of experts and a panel of teachers working in schools across the UK. Books have been chosen with independent reading in mind. There are some great books, which we strongly recommend for these age groups, but they haven’t made it into this 100 great books selection because we think, that for one reason or another, they are better introduced as teacher-led books. For example, Morris Gleitzman’s Once is a powerful and accessible book about the Holocaust in Poland. We have experience of using this book very successfully with readers in year 6. However, after much deliberation we decided not to include it the 100 great books pack. We have retained it in our group and class reading packs, where we feel it will be sensitively mediated by a class teacher. Morris Gleitzman still features with Boy Overboard in the UKS2 selection.
The 100 great book selections include well-loved classics, as well as some newer titles. When making our selections, we had an eye towards longevity rather than choosing the ‘book of the moment’. That is not to say that popular recent books should not be included in book corners. Indeed we very much hope class collections are organic and added to regularly, bringing in the new and weeding out the old and tired. For teachers looking to refresh book corners with latest titles, we recommend our Ten a Term packs which provide a thoughtfully curated selection of new books each term.
Ten a Term
Ten a Term is a small collection of new books designed to keep your book corners up-to-date with the best of recently published fiction, nonfiction, poetry and picturebooks. Each pack contains at least one accessible book and at least one more challenging book.
Theme packs are at the heart of what makes The Reading Journey special. When used in conjunction with the free discussion notes on this website, the themes generate an excited buzz about books.
Each pack has 24 books: 3 copies of 8 titles. We suggest that a theme might be used for a term’s reading project. The number of themes that you choose is entirely up to you. As a 2 or 3 themes a year would work well. After introducing the books in class, you could transfer the books to the school library as a way to keep library stock replenished. Children need plenty of opportunities to read from the non-themed selections, so it isn’t essential that you always have a theme on the go.
Themes are designed to:
- cross genres – the book selection might include nonfiction, poetry, fiction and picturebooks
- include at least one accessible book and at least one book to challenge pupils reading at greater depth
- provide opportunities to explore connections and differences between books
- deepen and refine responses to literature
- encourage wider reading
- allow teachers to manage inclusive discussions, even when children are reading different books
- accommodate other books from the class or school library. Themes can be supplemented with teachers and children’s book choices.
- encourage children to use the school library by relating books in the theme to other texts
In each phase we have added a selection of author packs. These are key authors for your pupils to be introduced to. By having an author focus, you will be helping to develop children’s awareness of writers and illustrators. Even very young children can recognise an illustrator’s individual style. You may want to make a special feature of one or two different authors in your book corner selection across the year. We suggest that these books are available for a limited period and then swapped with books from a theme pack, as part of your strategy for keeping your book corners fresh and interesting. It is important that new books are seeded into the book corner across the year to maintain interest.
We have a commitment to keeping our resources affordable for schools. To this end we have created several resources, many of which are freely available for you to download and use in your classrooms. You are reminded that they are subject to copyright and that The Reading Journey is trademarked, so that while you may freely use these resources in your own schools and classrooms, you cannot reproduce them in any other format, or use them for commercial purposes. Please help us keep resources free by respecting these terms and conditions.
On this site you will find:
Posters and display material
You can choose to print your own stickers and passports from the PDF files on this website. If you prefer, you can purchase high quality ready printed versions from us. The choice is yours.
See themes for each year group where you will find notes that have been written by the teachers that trialled the pack in their classrooms.
Reading Behaviours and Rewards
We have produced a set of stickers so that you can reward your readers for outstanding reading behaviours. These are available to purchase ready printed, or you can print them yourself, as you prefer.
Rather than reward the number of books read, or the number of words or hours spent reading, we have given consideration to the different types of reading behaviour that you might want to celebrate. We anticipate that all readers, regardless of their levels of attainment, can achieve recognition for these behaviours.
Reward reading behaviours
See resource section for the sticker templates. These are to be used with Avery labels L4716
Using The Reading Journey
The Reading Journey has been trialled in schools across the UK.
Although we have designed The Reading Journey and accompanying resources with a model of how they could be used in mind, we know that you will find your own ways of using them. They will take on a new life when they enter your classrooms. Should you wish to share your journey with us, you can upload your photos to the relevant pages on this site, or email us with your Reading Journey stories. Thank you for taking this road with us.
Nikki Gamble, Caroline Bradley, Sam Keeley, Lynn Raymond
Thank you to Jon Biddle, Darryl Crawley, Sara Stanley, Kiran Satti, Rebecca Thomson, Sonia Thompson and Claire Williams for trialling and writing materials and for invaluable feedback.